The canon. The beautiful basics of science

Once in a while you stumble upon a book that will change the way you see and approach things. This is one of them. Natalie Angier, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the NYT (booksite), has written a book for those of us who need beauty, involvement and lateral thinking to get into science. It’s all here: Thinking scientifically. Probability. Calibration. Physics. Chemistry. Evolutionary Biology. Molecular Biology. Geology. Astronomy.

Excerpt: “As youth flowers into maturity, the barrier between nerd and herd grows taller and thicker and begins to sprout thorns. Soon it seems nearly unbreachable. When my hairstylist told me he was planning to visit Puerto Rico, where I’d been the previous summer, and I recommended that he visit the Arecibo radio telescope on the northwestern side of the island, he looked at me as though I’d suggested he stop by a manuafacturer of laundry detergent. “Why on earth would I want to do that?” he asked. “Because it’s one of the biggest telescopes in the world, it’s open to the public, and it’s beautiful and fascinating and looks like a giant mirrored candy dish from the 1960s lodged in the side of a cliff?” I said. “Huh,” he said, taking a rather large snip from my bangs. “Because it has a great science museum to go with it and you’ll learn a lot about the cosmos?” “I’m not one of those techie types, you know,” he said. Snip snip snip snip snip.” (p. 3)

My teachers managed to drill the love of science out of us at school. Just look at this picture by Martin Heade, soon to be on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in an art exhibition entitled “Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts“. How can you not love science?

Martin Heade, Cattleya Orchid and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds, 1871, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Martin Heade, Cattleya Orchid and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds, 1871, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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Anne

Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

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